It is fair to say that I know most of what I do about comic books from cartoon adaptations from when I was a child. I loved the Spiderman and X-Men adaptations made in the 90s as they dispensed with the fluffy ‘the world has to be nice and the hero always wins tripe’ and gave us serial stories that felt more believable whilst still not being too adult in content. I have read some X-Men comics but all other understanding of the universes out there are from trawling the internet or watching the myriad of superhero films. It is the films in particular that I find very hit or miss. Many stories are predictable and for every ‘good’ superhero movie there are three or four ‘average’ or worse ones. For example, whilst X-Men 1 and 2 are fantastic the whole line of Spiderman films are just a tad boring for my liking. Iron Man is fantastic, largely due to Robert Downey Jr., but we also have to put up with Daredevil, Hulk and Ghost Rider. The Batman reboot is fantastic, excellent acting and dark storylines, but this has grown out of epic failures such as Batman and Robin and the cult but very camp 1960s TV series.
It was on the back of this scepticism of superhero movies that I started to watch Marvel’s Agents of Shield. To keep the trend of ‘good’ going hand in hand with ‘poor’, I like the Thor movies as well as Iron Man however I was not fully won over by Captain America, and The Avengers (or Avengers Assemble in the UK) left me feeling a bit cold. The first episode of Agents of Shield was interesting, an intreaging underground network known as The Rising Tide, a corrupt organisation using dangerous technology to create superheroes (centipede) and the do-gooders S.H.I.E.L.D. at loggerheads with one another. It set up an interesting premise and the fact it tied so well into the movie franchise only added more gusto. It seemed as if the series would build up to reveal dark secrets, have recurring enemies and leave you guessing at every turn. To my disappointment this did not really happen. As the series continued the lack of peril made uncomfortable viewing, you knew that whatever scrapes the team got into either Ward or May would come out swinging and get them out of it. If they needed some new tech to beat an enemy then Fitz and Simmons were there and when they needed some unknown information they would turn to Sky. Although well acted, unusual for a superhero series, there was very little care for the characters. It all felt a little sterile and somehow distant from the movies. There was a cameo from Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury but other than that, and some events from the films being mentioned, there were few links. There are a few other areas that irked me too, particularly that they keep mentioning the lack of people with psychic super powers however this is the same universe as X-Men and I only need point you towards Professor X and Jean Gray.
I am now nearing the end of series one and am glad I stuck with it. I have little time to watch TV and can only put it down to the fact there is little on I want to watch at the moment that I am still tuning in every week. However, the game seemed to change a few episodes ago. A random message from *spoiler alert* Hydra twisted the whole plot on its head. Suddenly I care what they did to Phil Coulson, they explained what happened then turn it round so you don’t know if that is really what went on. Now I am cringing every time I see any of the team doing something for Ward, knowing where his allegiances lie. Or do I? Is he going to turn back to the light for Sky? May is a lot more interesting now we know her purpose and even more so since going AWOL. We also know there is something special about Sky, buy what? I understand that they may have dragged the series out because of when films will be released but I wish they had started this change of momentum earlier.
Agents of Shield has been worth sticking with, but there are a few ways it could be improved. I would like to see more cameos from The Avengers. I hope that the agents in the show will appear in some of the films, even if only bit parts. I also hope that Deathlock gets a large part in a film or at least teams up with other villains in the TV series. So basically Agents of Shield has pulled itself back from the brink. Let’s hope it can continue to move forward and not drag out again to simply become an advert for the big screen adaptations.